Agents vs Agency: Battle for Control in the IoT

February 8, 2017 11:00 AM - 11:20 AM

The history of design has been largely focused on enhancing human agency through the products and services we create. Through designed technology, we have enabled humans to extend their capabilities to run faster, work more productively, and address our limitations. Yet, as we approach 2020–the future is really here–ubiquitous wireless broadband internet connectivity combined with predictive analytics embedded into every aspect of our lives, we product developers and designers can “help” users be better than ever before by making decisions for them.

While our ability to act as an agent for users presents an exciting opportunity, it also forces us to deeply interrogate our intent in each design decision. Are we creating agents to act on behalf of our users, or are we instilling agency in the humans we design for? This talk will introduce the boundaries of the most fundamental design question of our era: agent vs agency. Where should control reside?

Metropolitan Pavilion
125 W. 18th Street, New York, NY 10011